Thanks for taking a look around The Hop Leaves, your personal window into exceptional spaces to get a quality beer throughout Europe. After living in California, amongst the tremendous variety of craft breweries and beer bars, I now have a unique opportunity to leave the American work-grind behind for a while and wander around Europe. My amazing wife and I first started exploring Europe while on vacation with friends in 2012, and it quickly became an annual obsession. During those trips, finding exceptional beer experiences was a priority amongst the many other travel activities. Over time, as the collection of experiences had continued to grow, I started assembling maps, lists and information for friends/coworkers. This way they too could benefit from what we had already learned. As I continued with these sharing activities, I found that I really enjoyed the creative processes and realized that I could take it one step further. So in the spirit of this highly collaborative industry, and all of the great people I've learned from along the way, it now seems logical to open up the information for all beer enthusiasts to leverage in their own European travels. I guess it's my small contribution, as a long-time fan of the craft beer revolution. At its core, The Hop Leaves has been designed to show you what these stunning destinations are like to experience, with special emphasis on visual reportage. It's my hope that this unique approach will effectively serve as a trusted companion to the many other apps and lists that one will leverage in their travels.
I am not a pro beer critic . . .
To be sure, this website is not necessarily about me reviewing all sorts of beers. It's also not meant to be an all-inclusive catalog of every beer joint and brewery in Europe. There are plenty of resources already out there for those sorts of things. While I do appreciate the opportunity to give my opinion on an exceptional IPA, barrel-aged stout, lambic/gueuze, etc. (I am a geek after all), my primary purpose here will be to filter the noise and provide quick facts on the destinations that seem to stand out. Think quality over quantity...
The selection process . . .
The types of destinations on The Hop Leaves could include: bars, breweries, beer gardens, beer halls, pubs and bottle shops throughout Europe. It may ultimately be about finding the good (and oftentimes rare) beer, but I ALSO care about the people, tradition, vibe and atmosphere. If a destination is listed, it simply means that I've personally been there (multiple times, in most cases) and have found it to be a worthwhile experience for a discerning pilgrim to consider. While I am not a writer by trade, I'll do my best to tell you why it should potentially be on your target list too.
Sharing is caring . . .
If your favorite spot isn't included on here, that isn't necessarily a negative thing and it might actually be an opportunity. My target list is long (it's Europe!) and I may not have had a chance to get to that particular location, or its respective city, just yet. Moreover, there are still gems located within geographies I've already been to multiple times, that I just haven't made it to for one reason or another. But that's a good problem to have as a busy explorer, and certainly a reason for me to return again someday.
Of course, your favorite spot may not even be on my radar at all. Please know that I would love to hear from any readers that have a highly recommended location of their own. I'll then fold it into my travels and check it out. Together, we can give said establishment well-deserved recognition, while paying it forward for others to experience.
Journalistic integrity . . .
It's not always easy to keep up with the many moving patterns of The Hop Leaves. While absolute accuracy in reporting the facts is paramount at the time of entry, things can change or mistakes can be made from time to time. If you discover an error, and you're feeling communicative, please message me (via the Contact page) and I'll right the wrong as soon as possible.
Photographic pursuits . . .
I'm a big fan of visual details, so I try to take photos of my favorite destinations whenever possible. I travel light with a Leica kit that is always by my side. As a general rule, I do my best to make sure the faces of patrons are at a distance or appropriately blurred. This can sometimes limit published content, as I do not want to be too intrusive.
If any businesses featured under Destinations would like free copies of the image(s) that make it onto The Hop Leaves, please message me and I'll send you the high-resolution file(s). I'm also happy to revisit and take more formal shots for anyone that may be interested.
The road ahead . . .
I hope you enjoy exploring this website as much as I've enjoyed creating it. For each month going forward, I will be traveling to new destinations and revisiting old favorites as well. I'm also in the process of assembling content from previous trips. With all of this in mind, my main objective is to add new destinations each week. So, don’t forget to check back and read The Hop Leaves to reveal your future wanderings in Europe's ever-evolving beer scene.